Karibu…that’s the word for “welcome” in Kiswahili! Welcome, or “karibu” to our new blog! The Halvorsons have been in Kenya now for one month. We are excited to start this blog so we can keep you updated on things we are doing here in Kenya and around East Africa as we work with Africa Inland Mission. Hope you like it and visit often.
Here’s an update of what we have been up to since our arrival in Nairobi on July 12, 2013. After landing late that night, we were greeted by some fellow AIM missionaries, who graciously battled the crazy Nairobi traffic to greet us, help us gather our 20 pieces of luggage and then drive us to the AIM Mayfield Guest House. We spent our first four nights there, adjusting to the new time zone and getting a little preview of Nairobi, where we plan to live for the next four years.
On July 16th, we loaded onto a bus with 50 other new AIM missionaries (adults and children) and headed to Scott Christian University in Machakos, Kenya, about 45 minutes outside of Nairobi. We spent the three weeks living in dorm rooms and attending AIM African Based Orientation, learning such things as understanding African culture and religion, and staying healthy and safe in Africa, along with many other topics. We had opportunities to go out into the community and talk with the people, visit a family in their home…
…ride in a very crowded “matatu” (a small taxi-like form of transportation), eat authentic Kenyan food, attend a local church where the message was preached in Kikambe, a tribal language, and even visit and buy things at the local market. We learned a lot while at African Based Orientation, made new friends, and prepared for life in Africa!
On August 6th, we arrived back here in Nairobi and started the process of unpacking and moving into our home here in Nairobi. We are living in a Kenyan neighborhood where about 4 other AIM missionary families also live. The first night in our home, a sweet AIM family brought us dinner, and after enjoying delicious lasagna with homemade bread sticks, salad, and cookies for dessert, we played a game together as a family. As we played the last card on the table, we experienced our first power outage and went to bed by flashlight! In the morning, there was still no power, but after a cup of tea (brewed with water boiled on the gas stove), the power returned. Later in the morning we had just a small trickle of water from the sink, and discovered that the only water we had was what was left in the hot water tank! We later found out that the city turns the water off each week from Tuesday through Thursday in our neighborhood! Thankfully we were also told later that day that our house is equipped with a large tank in the yard that collects extra water on the other days, and a pump to get it to our house on the days the water is turned off…as long as there is power!! So many things to learn in this new city of ours!
We have spent the last week beginning the adventure of language learning. We are beginning the process of learning phrases and then going out into the community to use those phrases with people we meet there. Right outside of our neighborhood are many little “dukas” (Swahili for ‘small shops’) that line the street selling all sorts of fresh produce and a variety of wares. A few days ago we went to the duka and bought fresh ingredients for making fresh guacamole and salsa! When we got home, we made a delicious meal of chicken burritos with homemade tortillas, fresh guacamole and tasty salsa. All the kids helped in the kitchen chopping tomatoes and onions for salsa, scooping out avocados and squeezing lime for guacamole, and flipping the fresh tortillas. It was a lot of work, but we all agreed it was an amazingly tasty meal to enjoy together around our table!
Jon Michael and Sarah started school on August 12, just 6 days after our arrival in Nairobi. They are really enjoying this new adventure, even with the early wake-ups and late nights getting home!
The traffic here in Nairobi is CRAZY! The traffic is so bad here in Nairobi that the bus picks up Jon Michael and Sarah at 6:55am (school starts at 8:30am), and drops them off around 5:00pm or 5:30pm (school gets out at 3:30pm.)
We have experienced quite a few power outages since our arrival here and now realize that having many candles on hand is a MUST! On the second night of school, Sarah had to do homework by the light of a candle as the power went out before she was done. As you can see, we are adjusting to many new things all at one time here in Nairobi!